October 2, 2014

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(Updated) Browns GM Tom Heckert says he doesn’t know his future, but wants to stay

BEREA – Browns general manager Tom Heckert said he doesn’t know if he’ll keep his job after the season and he’ll be “disappointed” if new owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner don’t bring him back for his fourth year.

“I really have no idea,” Heckert said today in an informal interview with reporters. “Whatever happens happens.”

Haslam and Banner have repeatedly said they’ll make personnel decisions regarding Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur following the season. The Browns (5-8) have won three straight and five of eight. With three games left, they have an outside shot to make the playoffs.

There have been persistent rumors that Heckert won’t be brought back. And Mike Lombardi’s name continues to be reported as a possible replacement.

“It would be disappointing,” Heckert said. “But I do get it.

“There’s a variety of reasons things could happen. I’m OK with it. I’m not going to pout.”

But he wants to stay.

“Uh. You know what? Yeah, I do,” he said. “I really enjoy the city and I really enjoy this team and so that would be the ideal situation.”

Heckert, who spoke for about 20 minutes, has final say over the 53-man roster after four years as the GM in Philadelphia without that power. Banner has restructured the organization and may ask him to give up control.

“I’m not going to lie. It’s important. It’s why I came here,” Heckert said. “I’m not saying it’s an end-all, but it’s very important to me.”

Heckert worked with Banner in Philadelphia and said the relationship’s been good since he arrived in October.

“It’s been great,” Heckert said. “And no matter what happens, Joe and I are fine.

“We’ve talked a little bit about it. Everybody’s on the same page and we’ll talk about it sometime soon.”

Heckert said he expects the decision soon after the finale Dec. 30 in Pittsburgh. He appreciates the recent surge in support from fans.

“I get teased about it a lot upstairs,” he said. “A lot of people come up and it’s great. I appreciate it. I really do.”